The prominent NFT marketplace, OpenSea, has made it apparent that it has banned Cuban artists due to the United States’ sanctions policy. As such, a total of 30 Cuban collectors and artists do not have access to the marketplace.
The Banning of Cuban Artists
NFTcuba.Art, a Cuban NFT project, tweeted the matter to publicize their disabled OpenSea account. “Not only Cubans on the island, but people of other nationalities face censorship in Web3 companies,” the tweet says. “Buying art from Cubans is not banned in the US embargo.” Furthermore, the NFT marketplace claims that the company is simply following its Terms of Service. Further, it explicitly prohibits sanctioned individuals, including those in sanctioned jurisdictions.
long time since we posted, unfortunate that this post needs to be this.@opensea has disabled our profile.
Not only do Cubans on the island, but those who have other nationalities have to endure censorship in web3 company.
Buying art from Cubans is not banned in the us embargo pic.twitter.com/7cccbmjNWR
— NFTcuba.ART 🇨🇺 (@nftcubaart) December 12, 2022
OpenSea has banned 30 Cuban artists and collectors thus far, according to Artnet. This includes Havana-based artists Gabrial Guerra Bianchini and Fábrica de Arte Cubano. As a response to the controversy, an OpenSea Spokesperson told Cointelegraph the following: “We continue to holistically evaluate what other measures need to be taken to serve our community and comply with applicable law.”
The details of the marketplace’s policies don’t come as a surprise since the banning of artists has occurred before. The OpenSea marketplace also restricted Venezuela, Iran, and Syria in the past due to US sanctions. Though the recent ban on Cuban artists has sparked a debate on Twitter about the decentralization of NFT marketplaces. This has caused artists and collectors to look elsewhere and choose a different marketplace that allows them to participate in Web3.